PURPOSE: Following a first phase of trachoma mapping in Malawi with the Global Trachoma Mapping Project, we identified and mapped trachoma districts previously suspected to be non-endemic, although adjacent to districts with estimated trachoma prevalences indicating a public health problem.
METHODS: We conducted population-based surveys in eight evaluation units (EUs) comprising eight districts in Malawi (total population 3,230,272). A 2-stage cluster random sampling design allowed us to select 30 households from each of 30 clusters per EU; all residents aged 1 year and older in selected households were examined for evidence of trachomatous inflammation-follicular (TF) and trachomatous trichiasis (TT).
RESULTS: None of the eight EUs had a TF prevalence in 1-9-year-olds ≥10%, one district (Dedza) had a TF prevalence between 5.0% and 9.9%, and only one district (Karonga) had a trichiasis prevalence in adults ≥0.2%.
CONCLUSION: The prevalence of TF and TT in six of eight EUs surveyed was consistent with an original categorization of trachoma being unlikely to be a public health problem. In the absence of formal surveys, health management information system data and other locally available information about trachoma is likely to be useful in predicting areas where public health interventions against trachoma are required.